Road to Avengers: Infinity War #2 The Incredible Hulk

The second movie on the road to Avengers: Infinity War is 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. In reality, this movie is not necessary at all as a prerequisite for Infinity War, however I’ll give a very quick overview in this post, which will help to flesh out a few details for Hulk in the MCU.

Check out my first post in this series for Iron-Man.

And be sure to see my recommended viewing guide for the entire MCU.

Bruce Banner / Hulk

  • Bruce is a brilliant scientist who was working towards recreating the “super soldier serum” that gave Steven Rogers aka Captain America his abilities. Banner’s experiments involved using amounts of gamma rays instead of the “vita-rays” used in the original formula.
  • However, when one of the experiments goes wrong, Banner is exposed to dangerously high levels of gamma radiation.
  • Whenever Banner is angered or stressed, he turns into a mindless, green, rage monster that destroys anything in sight.
  • His time is spent either evading government authorities or looking for ways to control the Hulk.
  • Bruce is played by actor Edward Norton for this movie only, and then was recast by Mark Ruffalo for all movies in the MCU since.

General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross

  • Ross is a Lieutenant General for the US Army, who was put in charge of the project Bruce Banner was working on to recreate the “super soldier serum.”
  • He spends the movie trying to correct his “mistake” by taking down the Hulk.
  • Ross most recently makes an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, where he is now the Secretary of State.

Betty Ross

  • Betty is a fellow scientist and the daughter of General Ross. She’s also the love interest of Bruce in the movie. However, so far she has not been mentioned again in the MCU.

Emil Blonski/Abomination.

  • Blonksi leads the task force Ross brings in to capture the Hulk.
  • Unable to capture him, Blonski volunteers to inject himself with an imperfect reproduction of the super soldier serum. With increased speed and strength, Blonski goes after the Hulk again, and not only loses again, but has almost all of his bones crushed in the fight. However, his body heals itself with the serum running through his veins.

  • Frustrated and desperate for revenge, Blonski ends up taking another, larger dose of the serum and exposes himself with gamma radiation.
  • The result of mixing the imperfect serum with the gamma rays, turns him into an “abomination.”
  • The Hulk and Abomination fight in Harlem, and the Hulk ends up the victor yet again, knocking Blonski out, and then runing away, not to be seen again until the events of Avengers in 2012.

After Credits Scene

  • After General Ross fails to take down the Hulk, he goes to a bar to drown his sorrows with drinks and cigars.
  • Tony Stark walks in and starts a conversation. “I tried to tell you that super soldier program was put on ice for a reason. I’ve always found that hardware was more reliable.”
  • Ross shoots back with “Stark, you always wear such nice…suits.”
  • After a few more insults, Stark informs Ross that he hears Ross has a “problem” and that SHIELD is “putting together a team.” The scene ends.

After Credits Scene Expanded in The Consultant One Shot

468px-Jasper-consultant

  • On the surface, The Incredible Hulk scene with Stark and Ross seems to imply that Stark is interested in the Hulk or maybe even Ross himself (in the comics he becomes a red version of the Hulk).
  • However, Marvel started making short films called “Marvel One Shots” and the first one was released in the special features section of the Thor DVD in 2011, titled The Consultant.
  • In it, Agent Coulson and another SHIELD agent named Jasper Sitwell meet in a diner to talk about a problem. Apparently the World Security Council wants Emil Blonski aka the Abomination to join the Avengers Initiative. The council blames the Hulk for the battle in Harlem and sees Blonski as a war hero. They want someone from SHIELD to talk General Ross into releasing Abomination from his prison.
  • Of course, the agents see this as a terrible idea, so they decide to send a patsy that will sabotage the meeting and make Ross refuse to release the monster.

  • They decide that the person most capable of driving anyone to irrational anger is “The Consultant,” Tony Stark (This is a nickname he earns in Iron-Man 2).
  • The scene from the bar is played and then cuts back to the two agents meeting at the same diner, the following day.

  • Coulson tells Sitwell “mission accomplished” as Stark made Ross so mad he tried to have him thrown out of the bar. In response, Stark decides to buy the bar, and then proceeds to schedule the bar for demolition. Blonski will remain locked up.

And there you have it! That’s actually much more than you need to know about this movie to get by with the rest of the MCU. Avengers does make a couple passing references to this movie, but that is about it.

Up next is Iron-Man 2, released in 2010.

Review of Thor: Ragnarok aka Asgardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Irdris Elba, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum

Trailer: Click Here

Marvel has clearly dominated the superhero movie genre for almost a decade now. Looking back on all their successes over the last 9 years, the Thor movies have collectively been the least profitable for the almost 20 movie franchise. So naturally as any business would, Marvel decided they needed to take things in a different direction to try to add a little electricity to the god of thunder’s box office numbers. What we were given with Thor: Ragnarok is undoubtedly a fun ride, but something akin to the Transformers movies: There’s a ton of laughs and action, but it’s not really that cohessive of a movie.

On the plus side, it is great to see a Thor movie that almost entirely takes place away from earth, and is definitely a step in the right direction. What Thor brings to the Marvel table is a world that is steeped in the sci-fi fantasy genre. The previous movies tried to center their plots around Earth (most likely to try to make Thor more relateable) however both ended up suffering because of it. Ragnarok has a fantastic foundation: giving us a Thor story that takes place on his own turf so to speak…and then ruins it with the movie’s biggest issue: excessive, forced comedy.

Tessa Tompson likes to drink more than Thor as Valkyrie

There is a dangerous trend right now in superhero films that in order to be “good” it has to be funny. With the success of movies like Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy it’s understandable how we’ve arrived to this thinking…but that doesn’t make it true. While Deadpool and the Guardians movies are hilariously good movies, it is detrimental to think that all movies have to fit into that same mold.

It feels out of character for Thor and Hulk/Banner to be making jokes or to do “funny” things constantly. That’s not how they are in the comics, and more importantly that’s not how they’ve been in previous Marvel movies. It is so very obvious that their personalities have been changed to resemble those found in the Guardians movies (because they made a lot more money) and as a result, what makes both characters interesting and unique in the Marvel universe is quite literally “dumbed” down in Ragnarok. What we are left with are not Thor and Hulk, but goofy caricatures of what they should be, reminiscent of the Adam West version of Batman.

The other issue with the excessive comedy is that the tone of the movie is all over the place, and as a result, many scenes that are supposed to carry more weight, don’t. This movie is centered around stopping Ragnarok, which is essentially the end of the world. Sounds like pretty dark stuff, right? Well it never feels like it. We are constantly hit with story beats that are suppose to be dramatic and intense, and before we have time to process whats going on…it’s back to cracking jokes. Many of the dramatic scenes even have multiple jokes running through them. It’s just too much. There are events that happen that should shake Thor to his core, but instead he responds by joking around with his best friend Hulk or constantly talking about being a hero. The urgency and intensity just gets lost in the laughs.

The old saying “everything in moderation” comes to mind. While many people thought Batman v Superman was too dark, it is still possible to go too light. Comedy is not the only thing that makes a movie good, however that is what Marvel thinks now looking at the box office numbers.

Thor: Ragnarok is not a bad movie. It has some fantastic characters and an interesting story. (Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum are both perfect for their roles). However, the excessive and out of place comedy takes you out of the movie and negates any weight the movie tries to impose on the viewer. Nothing matters except having a good time. If this is Marvel’s direction now with all of it’s movies then I am extremely nervous about how the upcoming Infinity Wars movie will be handled. It is meant to be a much darker story, and if they try to turn it into a comedy because they think they will make more money, it is going to be a disaster. I don’t want all of my movies to have the exact same tone. Variety is the spice of life.

Final Verdict:

6.5 forced jokes out of 10.

Marvel’s latest Thor movie has a solid foundation, but is held back by excessive, forced comedy.